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New to ProZ and translation. Any advice for newbies?
Thread poster: Dorian Kenleigh

Dorian Kenleigh
United States
Local time: 05:12
Japanese to English
Apr 23, 2004


I'm a masters student struggling to pay bills, and thought that I might be able to make some money off of freelance translation work. After some web browsing, I ended up here and I have to say I'm overwhelmed by how difficult it seems to get established. I have a few months experience as a sattelite translator doing patents for a Japanese company. Unfortunately, they have no further use for my services and I'm out without much experience or background (the prior job was found through a FOAF).

I see a lot of translators here using CAT- which I assume means Computer Aided Translation- tools, and many potential employers demanding things such as uncleaned files, etc.

Though I'm supposedly an engineer, I wasn't quite expecting this level of technology. When I worked previously, I did everything in MS Word through an IME and relied on my Japanese knowledge and a good dictionary to function. Are CAT tools a necessity to work as a translator? Can someone kindly educate me in the technical language of the translation game?

I'm hoping to use this site as a resource to drum up work, but Im fearful that my lack of experience will thwart me. What is the best way to get started? What sort of information should I put in my profile? Is the platinum membership worth it? What techniques do you all use to find jobs through the forum? Is there anywhere I can go to gauge the market rates for services?

Thanks for any advice or comments.

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Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:12
German to Romanian
+ ...
start by reading topics in the Getting Established part of the forum Apr 23, 2004

most of the questions you are asking have been asked many times before and discussed largely. I suggest you browse some "Getting established" topics and then go on to other forums, which you think might be interesting to you, and you will see that you will have an answer to most of your questions there.

Good luck.

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:12
German to English
+ ...
New to ProZ and translation. Any advice for newbies? Apr 24, 2004

One reason why so many people here find it difficult to get established is that they have totally unrealistic expectations. "Newby" doctors, accountants or electricians, with training and experience measured at best in months rather than years, would experience equal difficulty finding willing customers.


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Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:12
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
CAT tools not necessary at your stage Apr 24, 2004

Dorian Arnold wrote:
Are CAT tools a necessity to work as a translator?

No, CAT tools are not really necessary, especially not when you are at this stage of starting a translation career. The most widely used (and required) CAT tools are TRADOS, SDLX, DEJA VÚ and WORDFAST. Wordfast is the only one of them that is free of charge so you might want to take a look at it. You can read about the others in the Tools section in the header or by searching them on google.

Good luck,

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Charlotte Blank  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:12
Czech to German
+ ...
Wordfast has been free... Apr 24, 2004

sundari wrote:
Wordfast is the only one of them that is free of charge so you might want to take a look at it.

Hi Stefanie,

sorry to correct you: it has been completely free until two years ago. Here's what they say on their website (

...Trial mode: (there is no specific trial version to download) Wordfast works for free (without license) with translation memories up to 110 Kbytes, and/or 500 TU (translation units). In other words, Wordfast can be used for short to medium jobs, for free, with all features activated (compare to Trados' demo mode limited to short TMs of 100 TUs). Buying a license removes this limitation and allows you to use Wordfast on jobs of any size.

A license costs USD 180 (for certain countries half of that) which is much less than for other CAT-programs.


(Qing ni wen Zhongguo hao!)

[Edited at 2004-04-25 07:25]

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